Rods progressively escape saturation to drive visual responses in daylight conditions

Alexandra Tikidji-Hamburyan, Katja Reinhard, Riccardo Storchi, Johannes Dietter, Hartwig Seitter, Katherine E. Davis, Saad Idrees, Marion Mutter, Lauren Walmsley, Robert A. Bedford, Marius Ueffing, Petri Ala-Laurila, Timothy M. Brown, Robert J. Lucas, Thomas A. Münch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Rod and cone photoreceptors support vision across large light intensity ranges. Rods, active under dim illumination, are thought to saturate at higher (photopic) irradiances. The extent of rod saturation is not well defined; some studies report rod activity well into the photopic range. Using electrophysiological recordings from retina and dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of cone-deficient and visually intact mice, we describe stimulus and physiological factors that influence photopic rod-driven responses. We find that rod contrast sensitivity is initially strongly reduced at high irradiances, but progressively recovers to allow responses to moderate contrast stimuli. Surprisingly, rods recover faster at higher light levels. A model of rod phototransduction suggests that phototransduction gain adjustments and bleaching adaptation underlie rod recovery. Consistently, exogenous chromophore reduces rod responses at bright background. Thus, bleaching adaptation renders mouse rods responsive to modest contrast at any irradiance. Paradoxically, raising irradiance across the photopic range increases the robustness of rod responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1813
JournalNature Communications
Volume8
Issue number1
Early online date27 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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